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Construction project communication is not collaboration

Construction project communication is not collaboration
Modernizing construction means different things to different people. You’ve bought the most advanced construction machinery. You use digital files instead of paper. Everyone’s connected by smart phone, laptop, tablet and computer. Well, that’s a good start says Jas Saraw, regional director of sales, Canada at Procore, a cloud-based construction project management software leader.

So, what’s missing? The ability to truly collaborate among all stakeholders and the provision of a frictionless environment that makes it not only easy to collaborate, but gets stakeholders to choose to collaborate.

“People have been trying to solve the challenge of collaboration on the jobsite for as long as I can remember,” says Saraw. “What we tend to get is contractors working with dozens of specialized trades and it becomes almost impossible to know who is doing what, what their responsibilities are and when and where they’re doing it.”

A good cloud-based construction management solution necessarily helps all parties to communicate their responsibilities and activities. But communication is not collaboration, he says. Procore was built from the ground up as a collaboration tool.

“Simple communication allows you to know the who, what, when and where of a project,” says Saraw. “Collaboration allows you to take all of the communications from various stakeholders and use that intelligence to provide you with a deep understanding of the health of the project. For example, rework remains one of the major preventable reasons that profit margins get shaved down to an unacceptable level.”

Procore solves that problem by providing a platform that creates a single, cohesive record of the project. Users can see as much of that record as they require to work efficiently. Contractors and owners can measure the health of a project and head off potential warning signs before a project heads for troubled territory. With all parties collaborating and understanding their responsibilities, there’s far less room for misunderstanding what needs to be done to get a project on track. 

While a collaborative cloud platform might work if stakeholders are forced to use it, Saraw notes that Procore was designed to make stakeholders want to use it because it provides an easy and frictionless method to complete daily tasks in real time.

“We’ve essentially created a platform that’s so easy to use and so intuitive that it drives adoption,” he says. “It provides user centricity that allows each contributor to collaborate in the way that best suits them. It doesn’t matter if you've never used an iPad before or you grew up with the Internet—the tools need to fit your persona and the jobs you do daily.”

For example, Procore’s Daily Log tool allows users to keep track of every detail, such as: labour, work in progress, work completed, hours worked, communication, equipment, materials, deliveries, weather, and job site events. 

“In the past, the site supervisor would have had to walk the site all day, take notes, juggle observations in memory, then return to the construction trailer to enter them into an Excel spreadsheet,” says Saraw. “That’s cumbersome, time consuming and a lot of stuff was forgotten. Allowing that site supervisor to enter clean, quality data in a few clicks on a tablet or smartphone not only provides more accurate collaborative information, but also represents the elimination of the pain point of data entry at the end of the day. Site supervisors gravitate to using the Procore platform because they prefer to, not because they’re ordered to.”

However, collaboration is only one part of a broader need to standardize and rationalize construction management systems.

“It’s not enough to offer fixes and modules and multiple-point solution to fit various use cases,” says Saraw. “What you wind up with then is something that looks like technology but is actually a hairball of stop gap solutions that don’t really create a cohesive project record. Ask yourself whether you’d be confident turning over your project records in their current form as evidence in litigation. Having that confidence means that you’ve found an effective and holistic solution to monitoring project health.”

This content is sponsored by Procore Technologies, Inc. in collaboration with ConstructConnect™ Media. To learn more about Procore, visit Procore.com.


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